In the latest of our #MidweekDub series of interviews, last season’s winning W-League Grand Final captain and current Matilda Angie Beard spoke to Ben Gilby about Melbourne Victory’s success and her move to Denmark with Fortuna Hjørring (22/12/21).
Above: Angie Beard in action for Australia earlier this year. Photo: Football Australia.
Angie Beard was one of the stand-out players in the W-League for a number of years. She was hugely impressive as captain of the Melbourne Victory team that ended last season by winning the Grand Final and has finally begun to receive the international recognition that she so richly deserves.
Beard’s footballing journey began at the age of 12, and she takes up the story.
“I went to my local club Bethania Rams. From there, I worked my way through the QAS NTC program before signing my first professional contract with Brisbane Roar at 17-years old. My break-out season was 2016 where I was called into a few Matildas camps at 18-years old and was awarded Player of the Year and Player’s Player of the Year for Brisbane Roar.
“After three years at the club, I moved on to Melbourne Victory to play under Jeff Hopkins. I also had an overseas stint in 2020 with KR Reykjavik in the Icelandic professional league Urvaksdeild Kvenna. We won the Premiership and made consecutive semi-finals before winning the championship last season.
Last season, Beard was a major player in Melbourne Victory’s W-League success. It was a campaign that she looks back on with great pride.
“It was one of the most enjoyable and successful campaigns I’ve been involved in. From pre-season, the vibe and intensity of the collective group were unique. I remember in an interview at the A-League men’s season launch, I was asked on stage what I thought of the upcoming season. In my excitement and passion, I stated that I couldn’t see us not making the Grand Final.
“Whilst our season was relatively consistent, we definitely had a few bumps in the road. After losing the Premiership in a tight contest with Sydney FC, the disappointment in the group was high but it may have been a wake-up call for us as a team. We finished the season off with a 6-0 victory over Perth Glory before backing it up in the semi-final against Brisbane Roar with another big victory.
“Sydney FC gave us a tight contest in the Grand Final but fortunately, we took the trophy back home with us to Melbourne.”
Beard’s form and success eventually led to an opportunity to move back to Europe.
“After my history and captaincy at Melbourne Victory, it was difficult to leave the club. In the off-season, my agent Ryan Oostendorp was approached with an offer from Danish club Fortuna Hjørring.
The Queenslander’s previous spell in Europe meant that she had an idea of some of the challenges awaiting her.
“As I had a stint in Iceland with KR Reykjavik, I already had an idea of what to expect in an overseas professional environment. However, the experience was heavily impacted by COVID-19. This made the decision to come back overseas a tricky but ultimately rewarding choice. Knowing I would be joined here by other talented Australian players (Clare Wheeler, Indiah-Paige Riley, and Alex Hyunh also played at Fortuna Hjørring this season), was a big factor in making my decision easier.
“Having a full-time program is a game-changer. Being able to be a professional footballer all year round and having that as my sole focus has elevated my football to the next level.”
Beard’s form with Melbourne Victory and then with Fortuna Hjørring meant that she was finally given an opportunity to play for her country, and made her debut in the friendly against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin. “I am very grateful and honoured to be called back into camps with the national team. It has always been an aspiration and goal for me in my professional career. Tony Gustavsson’s passion and energy are contagious. I’m excited to be involved and am eager to see the growth and continuing success that Tony and the Matildas can achieve.”
Impetus would like to thank former Matilda Alison Foreman for her assistance in arranging our interview with Angie Beard.